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May 06, 2009

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This is spot on, Publius. The godfather of the twenty-first century Republican Party is George Corley Wallace. (Although Governor Wallace, to his credit, in later life repented of his race-baiting)

Wallace planted; Nixon and Reagan [At]watered; but Satan gave the (temporary) increase. The Republicans are now reaping the harvest.

I wonder how the Republicans will spin Session's past position on race. Ignore it? Or maybe they will endorse it. Is that possible?

Cue the invocations of Robert Byrd's history from the usual parties in 3 ... 2 ... 1 ...

I wonder how the Republicans will spin Session's past position on race

i'm gonna go ahead and guess it'll be some form of tu quoque nonsense.

The Civil War reference reminds me that his full name is ...

Jefferson Beauregard Sessions

How can you forget the Civil War with that name?!

In the 1960s, both parties were in flux. The Democrats had traditionally been the racist party, while the Republicans had been far supportive of civil rights.

Um, no.

While the Democrats did indeed still have the Dixiecrats, the change to the Dems being institutionally the party of civil rights at least started during FDR's Administration, picked up some steam when Truman integrated the armed forces... and really picked up steam in 1948, when then-Minneapolis mayor Hubert Humphrey addressed the 1948 Democratic National Convention, urging the Democratic Party to get behind a civil rights plank. That's when Strom Thurmond (and the rest of the Southern delegation) walked out and founded the "Dixiecrat" Party, and nominated Thurmond for the Presidency.

It's worth noting, in fact, that if the Southerners had NOT walked out in protest, Truman might not have gotten the nomination.

So I think 1948 is a more accurate start date for when the Democratic Party became officially "The Civil Rights Party."

I wonder how the Republicans will spin Session's past position on race.

Noticing racism is really no different than racism.

The Republicans are trying to shave off anyone who isn't an ideological freak or an antisocial bully. Self-awareness need never show its face.

CaseyL, I'd love to believe you were right, but your narratives overlooks the fact that racist Southern Democrats remained tremendously powerful in the House and especially in the Senate throughout the Eisenhower administration. As someone who grew up long afterwards, the amount of power they held was one of the most striking things I learned from Caro's magisterial biography of LBJ, in particular the third volume.

Now, the evolution had started earlier, and noone exemplifies that more than LBJ, not just as the President who signed and enforced the Civil Rights Act but as the Senate Leader who, possessing the trust of the Southern Democrats, convinced them that they had to give him some progress on Civil Rights in order to support his national ambitions and their power. But placing the inflection point at the sweeping national legislation when LBJ said that the Dems had lost the South for a generation or more and was proven correct seems entirely reasonable. Things had been building, but that really was when the dam broke.

Well look, maybe his more controversial positions have softened over the years.

After all, he used to like the KKK until he found out they smoked pot.

The other problem with that narative is that we have racial preferences to this day, and it's the Democratic party defending them. While there are one or two rather significant civil rights that the Democratic party is still hostile to, perhaps because they were such important parts of Jim Crow you couldn't bear to dispense with them.

Being the party that didn't favor racial spoils for blacks has attracted some unsavory people, and to some extent they were even invited. But the party of racial spoils really can't claim to be the party of civil rights.

There ain't no such thing in this country, alas.

Brett: Are you trying to prove the claim that Republicans think anti-racism is a bigger problem than racism? I mean, the whole "Ohnoes, quotas! Guns are a civil right too!" rehtoric is almost parody perfect.

You knew somebody, probably Bellmore, was going to show up and claim that racism is what the descendents of slaves do to the descendents of masters, and not the other way around.

thanks Brett. i was counting on you for that!

You know, if we didn't have this thing called the 2nd amendment, your disdain for the idea that "guns are a civil right, too" might make some sense. As it is, you might as well deny that trial by jury is a civil right.

What Republicans typically think is that equal treatment under the law means equal treatment. Not several generations of discrimination in the opposite direction.

cleek: i'm gonna go ahead and guess it'll be some form of tu quoque nonsense.
Brett: The other problem with that narative is that we have racial preferences to this day, and it's the Democratic party defending them.

Prescience--cleek haz it.

Problem with that is, I'm not defending the Republican party, all that much. As I said, this country doesn't HAVE a "party of civil rights". It's got two parties that attack different civil rights, one of which is delusional on the subject.

What Republicans typically think is that equal treatment under the law means equal treatment.
Of course, there's equal treatment, and there's equitable treatment. There's equal inputs, and there's equal outcomes. The Republicans seem to specialize in a certain sort of moral obtuseness where laws that just happen to comfort the comfortable and to afflict the afflicted are fine, because they're written in a manner that superficially doesn't discriminate - see for example the crack vs. powder cocaine sentencing disparity, where the drugs are similar in their effects but one is used by poor inhabitants of the ghetto and the other is used by stockbrokers and socialites.

Not even getting into the whole interpretation of the wording of the 2nd amendment argument, Brett, the ridiculousness of claiming gun ownership is in any way equitable to the legacy of slavery, Jim Crow, and racism is laughable, Brett.

And as for the Republican's "equal treatment means equal treatment" (besides the blatant falsity of the statement, on many many fronts), "The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread."

Why even dignify the affirmative-action equals racism argument? Three-quarters of those who make the argument are flat-out racists who get off on the whole schtick of being concerned for civil rights. The others are simply deluded into thinking their alleged beliefs are what passes for principles.

As a politician in post-Jim Crow Alabama, he had to act like a racist to succeed. And I’m sure he’s better now. Heck, maybe he was never privately racist. And the political environment doesn’t require it anymore. But he did what he did – in that sense, he’s a legacy of a past that refuses to be forgotten. The old soldier in the attic.


I feel as though African-Americans and the country in general are willing to forgive southern politicians with checkered racial histories from the 50s and 60s, if they make a good faith effort to rehabilitate themselves. The fact is that Sessions does not seem to be repentant at all. He gets defensive and indignant about the racist "jokes" he's made when a simple apology would do.

I would put the start of the shift earlier, at the 1948 Democratic convention, when Truman allowed a civil rights plank in the platform to keep the party's left wing from going to Henry Wallace's Progressive Party. That's what made the Dixiecrats walk out of the convention and support Strom Thurmond.

I feel as though African-Americans and the country in general are willing to forgive southern politicians with checkered racial histories from the 50s and 60s, if they make a good faith effort to rehabilitate themselves.

That's the Christian thing to do.

This is a brilliant post, Publius. I knew it, but I had never thought of it that way. It makes me wonder what choices we, as a party and as a country are making now that will bear fruit in the decades to come. Like a lot of us I've been caught up in the day to day political struggle to the exclusion of the far time horizon.

(In a sense you are arguing (correctly, I think) that there really are some inflection points in history, like the ones alternate historians are always imagining, after which some courses are more likely than others. I'm reading an Eric Flint novel right now, The Arkansas War, which takes off from this argument and imagines what would have happened if a confederacy of former freed blacks, slaves, indians, and white families had begun to secede from the Union in the 1820's. )

aimai

It makes me wonder what choices we, as a party and as a country are making now that will bear fruit in the decades to come.

Health care and climate change are two obvious areas that are likely to have an enormous impact in the future. Financial re-regulation could have a big long-term impact, too, though that's much earlier in the process right now than the other two.

AIMAI: You might want to have a gander at Harry Turtledove. Try The Guns of the South to see if you like his style, and if so, check out How Few Remain. The first is a stand-alone book, the second one follows a Second Mexican War fought between the North and the South with the assumption that the South won independence in the Civil War. That begins an 11-book series that follows the enmity of the two American nations through World War I and II.

What Republicans typically think is that equal treatment under the law means equal treatment.

Then I guess my same-sex partner and I will have to settle for good old-fashioned Republican marriage, and not that Extra-Special Marriage Deluxe that the Democrats are advocating for us.

Thanx, publius, for an excellent post and a terrific conversation starter (Bellmore excepted).

I am old enough to remember Ike and LBJ, and was actually born shortly before FDR died in '45. In some ways, you, CaseyL and Warren Terra are all right about the start of the civil rights movement.

The movement of the northern black vote to the Dems started with FDR in the 1930's (southern blacks, of course, mostly not having the vote). As they migrated to the urban, industrial north, blacks, like other immigrant groups, got jobs, housing, etc via the city machines, which were mostly (but not entirely) Dems. Like the Irish, Italians and other groups, they voted out of gratitude or obligation, or because they were told to, for the machine candidates. FDR's clear bias toward helping the less-well-off also made working-class people, employed or not, more likely to vote for FDR's party. So as early as the decade before WW2, we had a schizophrenic Democratic party: northern ethnics, representing an incredible variety of urban working-class people, and rural southern segregationists, representing a mix of whites only - aristocratic and poor.

Truman's integration of the army and the Dixiecrat convention of 1948, Ike sending the army to Little Rock in 1957 (my first memory of the civil-rights struggle) and Johnson's leadership, principally in getting the voting rights act passed, are each major milestones along the continuum that FDR started. Nixon's southern strategy, perfected by Reagan and eventually overdone by Rove and GWB, allowed the GOP to paint itself into its current corner. It will escape eventually, but not by confining itself almost exclusively to the Southeastern quadrant of the country and allowing its few northern adherents to be seen as the crazies they are.

So in Brett Bellmoreland, when you've spent 400 years wronging a group of people, you have no moral responsibility to attempt to then ameliorate those wrongs. Nope, simply leaving them alone from that point on -- hey, equal treatment!! -- is sufficient.

Am I the only person who thinks that's pretty stupid?

Nope, simply leaving them alone from that point on -- hey, equal treatment!! -- is sufficient.

Of course it is, it is like if someone was barreling down the road in a Hummer drunk and high on Oxycontin and then ran over someone in the crosswalk.

Now, we can all agree that in some abstract way it would be better if the innocent person bleeding out in the crosswalk were to improve their lot in life.

But wouldn't going back to help them send the wrong message? First of all, it would degrade people in similar situations trying to pull themselves up by their bloody bootstraps without waiting for a handout. And second of all, to the people that weren't bleeding out in crosswalks, it would signify that somehow someone else's situation was more deserving of attention.

Sometimes the noblest, proudest, most American thing you can do is to simply keep on driving the Hummer, swerving bravely from shoulder to shoulder, not looking back, blood dripping from the grill.

Or if you can't afford a Hummer, a ten year old Jeep Cherokee.

Any of you who think of Sessions as if he's some sort of rehabilitated secessionist don't really understand the south.

The republican party has no interest in anything other than serving the sons of confederate soldiers and their wives.

It has gone regional.

Jefferson Beauregard Sessions

How can you forget the Civil War with that name?!

When my youngest daughter was younger, she was afraid of monsters under her bed. Her problem was that her imagination of them was so vivid that she couldn't stop thinking about them.

My solution was to give them names and characters. I named them Jefferson, Beauregard and Augustus, and I would sit with her on her bed and do their voices (southern, obviously), having conversations about eating her. They were big on swagger but obsessively worried that she might harm them if they tried to "get" her.

Total non sequitur, I know. But those old southern names have good memories attached ;).

It has gone regional.

Has it? Maybe. But the Specter case in Pennsylvania is instructive. The Dixieness of the GOP in Congress is unmistakeable. But what about the "Dixie" ness of the Pennsylvania GOP? The real problem is that the GOP base is increasingly all that's left in the North, Midwest, and West. They listen to drawly preachers on Sunday and identify with the GOP positions that play well in Alabama. And those positions, and that drawl, play like turd waffles in Oregon or Washington.

The regional is become national.

The real problem is that the GOP base is increasingly all that's left in the North, Midwest, and West.

I do not think the word problem means what you think it means.

"So in Brett Bellmoreland, when you've spent 400 years wronging a group of people"

Whoa! Stop right there! In Brett Bellmoreland, nobody is 400 years old. So your rant fails right there.

Unless maybe you're a believer in collective guilt and victimhood, which might just be what the fault line really is.

You feel inexplicably guilty about other people's crimes? Find some way to expiate that guilt that doesn't involve creating NEW victims in the here and now.

how can there be " new victims" when you insist that the practice of selecting for jobs along racial, nepotistic , party political, ethnic,religious,or sexual orientation lines is perfectly normal. All of these forms of discrimination--unless fought by liberalism, contrive to make the normal, everyday world "affirmative action" for white Christian men. If you think that practice of a dominant group continuosly selecting it's own members for positions of power is fair when your group is beneffitting it's hard to argue that the self same practice is unfair when other groups get the political strength to belly up to the bar. I mean, you aren't under thebimpression that Scalia st al were chosen for merit,are you? By definition the world we have lived in--not 400 years ago but right now, is not a meritocracy. It's a rich man's club. If the new owners want to hire their sons and daughters while kicking sand in the faces of the old guard who shall say them bay? It's as American as apple pie.

Oh, I don't believe that I am personally guilty of much.

On the other hand I do believe that it is a shame that many people don't get the advantages I started with. And in many cases, Affirmative Action is simple levelling of the playing field. And in others it is simple recognition of the fact that some people have had to work twice as hard to get to the same place as others.

"So in Brett Bellmoreland, when you've spent 400 years wronging a group of people"

Whoa! Stop right there! In Brett Bellmoreland, nobody is 400 years old. So your rant fails right there.

No, Brett. Try to think like a big boy for once. If you've been doing something for 400 years -- "you" here being "the United States government and its white citizens" and something being "enslaving them" -- and you stop today, right now, the people to whom you were doing it to yesterday are still alive. Your position appears to be that you owe them nothing aside from stopping what you were doing. My position is that that makes you an immoral monster.

What's more, you've created a culture in which the prejudices which will prevent them from being full participants in the civic state will persist for generations. Or have you suddenly given up on believing in the persistence of social constructions since it benefits your "white people are the REAL victims here" bs? Isn't that awfully convenient?

Yup, I think I've identified the fault line: Whether or not you believe in collective guilt and innocence, or think these are characteristics of individuals.

Explain to me exactly why it's ok to punish somebody whose only connection to the actual perpetrators is their race, in the context of slavery long ago, but not in the case of, say, muggings today.

This sort of thing is why I say that the Democratic party hasn't come as far from it's Jim Crow roots has you like to think. You're still thinking like racists. You're still treating people as instances of a group, rather than individuals unto themselves.

Okay, I guess Brett really is saying that noticing and pointing out racism and its lasting effects and attempting to do something about them is worse than racism.

You do understand there are such things as social systems, that carry over from generation to generation, and involve people in groups, right, Brett? People are not perfectly blank slates, judged on perfectly logical and equal levels, right?

Or would you rather claim "The Democrats are the real racists!" because it's more politically useful. Because that's what you're doing

Amazing. You can't even imagine noticing a wrong, and pointing it out, and trying to do something about it, without committing it yourself, can you? Man, that's a huge blind spot you've got there.

Explain to me exactly why it's ok to punish somebody whose only connection to the actual perpetrators is their race, in the context of slavery long ago, but not in the case of, say, muggings today.

It's interesting that you see affirmative action as 'punishing' you, but we'll leave that aside for the moment.

We could do a detailed study and try and find exactly how every current US individual did or did not benefit from discrimination in the past. dr ngo, I know, for example, once tried to outline the benefits down the generations his family had received from some of them once being slave-owners. And of course, we can't just include slave-owning, because that's not the only example of white privilege. Your colour also used to determine where you could live, whether you could get a mortgage etc. And did any of your ancestors go to white-only universities etc?

So we could do all that terribly complex and intimate calculus (we'd need to know a lot of your family history) and show exactly how much you have benefited personally. And unless you're a recent immigrant, you almost certainly will have benefited personally.

Would you like us to demonstrate that for you? Or you could accept that you probably have benefited in ways that you don't even realise and you can explain why it's still unfair that other people who haven't had those privileges get to play catch-up.

Brett: So what, pray tell, is your magical solution, that doesn't involve treating any people as "groups", and pretends social dynamics, stratification, generational prejudice, and the rest don't exist? Is it just to stand around and go "Neener neener neener, anybody who tries to do anything about racism is the real racist!" Because that's ALL you've done, and that's ALL you seem to have to offer, name-calling and declarations that "we" or "Democrats" or "liberals" are as bad or worse than racists.

Which of course is judging people as a group, and therefore makes you even more racist than us, by your own logic.

Give up, guys. Brett thinks that Anatole France's comment about equality before the law was prescriptive and being a liberal means that you want to create the New Soviet Man. When you are that far out there, you can't really talk him off the ledge.

Why even dignify the affirmative-action equals racism argument?

Now there's a good question.

There are lots of folks who persist in believing that black people are inherently inferior to white people.

To the degree that those folks participate in American electoral politics, they're quite a bit more likely to be Republicans than anything else.

Make of it what you will.

Sessions, in particular, is self-evidently racist, and it sucks that the Republican party has put him in a position of responsibility.

Thanks

What I would say is, if you look at a history of blacks being improperly denied admissions on the basis of their race, and the only solution you can conceive of is to improperly deny admission on the basis of race to whites, (Realistically, asians.) then you're suffering from a poverty of the imagination of colossal proportions. And if you think doing so is right, your sense of right and wrong is completely broken.

What's my magical solution? There IS no magical solution. The injustices of history, once the people who actually committed them are dead, are sunk costs.

I don't think you grasp just how dangerous this kind of collective guilt think would be, if you ever got the general population to think it was legitimate.

Brett: a) That's not what affirmative action does,
b) you still haven't answered the question of what your great and perfect plan to ensure everyone is treated as an individual is, all you've done is yell "Neener neener Democrats are racist because they judge people not all as individuals!" which by its own logic makes you a racist too, since you're judging people as groups, not individuals.

And c) That's not what affirmative action does. In many professions, minorities have to be not just good, not just great, but exceptionally great, for people to accept their success as deserved and not bitch about them being "promoted because of race" or "taking a job/place/whatever of some just as good white kid" or similar kinds of things. For examples of the people I have heard say such things, I offer both yourself, and my mother-in-law. If you don't understand how a history of prejudice and racism has helped create many jobs and positions of power where it's "normal" for there to be nobody but white men, and how that "normalacy" reinforces and perpetuates itself, then you don't know what you're talking about at all.

No, I'm sorry, but based on school performance after admissions, that is exactly what affirmative action does. It's just a fantasy that you're just chosing among equally qualified applicants, no harm, no foul.

And the idea that it's legitimate to base such decisions on race is dangerously corrosive.

And I do understand that the history of racism led to where we are now. The potato famine led to some of my ancestors imigrating here, does that entitle me to mug anybody who looks British?

It's worth mentioning, especially since the tedious affirmative action sidetrack is threatening to take over the thread, that there are plenty of other reasons to object to Sessions than his apparent racism. He's arguably second only to Inhofe in the dumb and crazy stakes in the GOP Senate. He's a global warming denier, a stem cell research opponent, a torture supporter and in favour of warrantless wiretapping.

In other words, "Neener neener neener, Democrats are the real racists!" and that's all you've got.

*PLONK*

"He's a global warming denier, a stem cell research opponent, a torture supporter and in favour of warrantless wiretapping."

Yes, those are good reasons to dislike him.

No, I don't think Democrats are "the" real racists. I think this fantasy world you've created where you're automatically the good guys, and anybody who objects to anything you get it into your heads to do is evil, is pretty annoying, though.

This was explicitly a post about Jeff Sessions. Jeff Sessions and the former secessioistas weren't anti-affirmative action they were explicitly pro affirmative action for white people. This isn't some fantasy that we've cooked up to make Brett feel bad. Its just the fact. White supremacy is actually a party position of the right fringe of the republican party. Affirmative action for white christian men is a party policy. That's not open to debate.

Sure, there's all kinds of stuff and guff they sell the tools and the rubes--Red State today ran a screamingly funny "I'm your best friend, rilly" article explaining to black people that its all their fault they are the gullible dupes of the Democrats and the Republicans just want to help. But that doesn't begin to touch the real world actions and preferences of a Jeff Sessions which is explicitly racist in the old fashioned sense of the word.

But here's the thing, Brett, you continue to talk and act as though American society is made up of "real" Americans who are made to feel guilty by other, less real, Americans. Well, I'm white and I don't feel guilty. And I support Affirmative Action and lots of government regulation meant to create a level playing field for my kids and my neighbors kids. Why is that? Because I don't explicitly identify with white slaveowning males. I'm not christian, I'm not male, and I don't think I beneffitted particularly from white male christian privilige. I and my children have a good chance of beneffitting from new regulations barring *discrimination* on the basis of race, creed, color, ethnicity, or sex or gender. So I'm happy to support affirmative action but its not even necessary for me to support your fantasy enemy affirmative action to support all kinds of overall structural approaches to reducing racism.

I guess my point is that what you write makes sense, and only makes sense, from an extremely angry, hysterical, fearful, white, *beta* male perspective. You may well lose out when women and minorities get a fair shake. You probably won't lose out if you come from a very priviliged financial background. Too bad, so sad. Elitism, as I said above: nepotism, ethnic solidarity, gender solidarity. These are all as American as Apple Pie. Maybe you can counter-attack by forming a white guy support group. We'll call it "white flight" or "white supremacy" and you can call it "all's fair." I don't really care. You seem to think this whole discussion is about who gets to call who a "good guy" or "evil." Really, its not. No one cares what you call yourself. And no one really gets off on feeling justified. Its just the fact of political life.

Women, minorities, non christians, and liberals are out organizing your rump conservativism because we are outteaching and outbreeding you. All your whining about how you are "pretty annoyed" to find yourself on the wrong side of history and the history books is just childish.

aimai

Jefferson Beauregard Sessions

How can you forget the Civil War with that name?!

Barack Hussein . . . Give me a break. Names don't mean a thing. Unless you are telling bed time stories to your kids. :)

see for example the crack vs. powder cocaine sentencing disparity, where the drugs are similar in their effects but one is used by poor inhabitants of the ghetto and the other is used by stockbrokers and socialites.

Ironically, isn't Sessions in favor of more equal sentencing for crack vs. powder? I know he introduced a bill with Hatch a while back.

It’s a telling contrast – this rise of Jeff Sessions to Judiciary ranking member. On the one hand, the Democratic Party nominated the first African-American president.

Kudos. And I mean that. And Thomas, Powell, Rice, Paige, Chao, Mineta, Martinez, Gutierrrez, Gonzalez . . .

And Sessions voted for Holder.

Listen, I appreciate the concern regarding the appointment. I share the concern. It's not clear to me that the allegations are true. He flatly denies the worst and passes one off as a joke (and it's not hard at all to see sarcasm in the joke). I don't see anything since 1986 being said. Specter says he voted wrong in 1986.

I tried to look up the prosecution of the "Marion 3." Other than the hearings, I don't see enough info to make an informed judgment that the prosecution was racially motivated. And criticizing the NAACP's "foreign policy" doesn't make one per se racist. While not entirely up on the subject, I remember the "Cuba" issue not long ago. Criticism there of communist leanings wouldn't necessarily be, IMHO, per se racist even if the "communist" attack was a favorite of segregationists in the past.

However, if any of the accusations are well-founded, that, IMHO, is a problem. But when the left attack machine goes into full swing, I start to wonder . . . Anita Hill, anyone?

In some ways, I would think this would be a good thing for the judicial nominations from a dem perspective. If you put a "tainted" R in that position, potential attacks on a nominee will be muted, right? Sessions feels he was unfairly treated in his nomination and says he will be fair. Even his dem colleagues seem to respect him. If there is something more than a Ted Kennedy cross examination, I'd be inclined to listen. But this just seems like a smear campaign.

Affirmative action for white christian men is a party policy. That's not open to debate.

?

"this fantasy world you've created where you're automatically the good guys, and anybody who objects to anything you get it into your heads to do is evil, is pretty annoying"

is this listed under "strawman" in the dictionary?

"Names don't mean a thing"

And, then you bring up Obama's name. Hmmmm.

"when the left attack machine goes into full swing, I start to wonder . . . Anita Hill"

Not sure what that means.

The fact it is a good thing for Democrats that easily tarred people are put in Republican leadership rules doesn't dispute the point of the post. It was more a lesson for Republicans, including of branding.

You seem to suggest that there might be some "fire" there (if unsure), so unclear what your ultimate point really is. That the branding might be somewhat unfair? Hmm. How unusual. How did saying "unfair!" work for Dems in 2002 and 2004?

Oh well. More post-1985 material might be helpful. Pretty sure it could be brought out, especially given one or two of the comments on this thread.

then you bring up Obama's name

Irony, is how I took that. The intentional kind.

What's my magical solution? There IS no magical solution.

Magical solutions aren't needed. A simple legal one is available.

Discriminate against someone based on race or ethnicity and you go to federal prison for five years. Period.

Housing, hiring, college admissions, whatever. Discriminate based on race or ethnicity, and off you go.

Expand it to gender and sexual preference if you like, fine with me.

Cut the problem off at the root and we won't need remedial solutions. In a generation or two, we won't be seeing a lot of race based discrimination.

So simple.

It's not clear to me that the allegations are true.

Sessions.

Hey, but maybe you're right. Maybe he's just a smart-ass with bad judgement.

So simple.

Oh yeah, forgot to add: no shield based on corporate immunity.

If you make discriminatory decisions in your position as an office holder of a corporation (commercial or otherwise), no immunity for you. You made the decision, you pay the price.

If it was a group decision, we add conspiracy to the list of charges.

Thanks -

"But I suppose it was very frustrating to see Democrats punished for making the morally correct decision on race."

And the Vietnam War. And women's rights. And that long hair and beards are not a moral failing.

"No, I'm sorry, but based on school performance after admissions, that is exactly what affirmative action does."

Your notion that college admissions are somehow based on objective measurable tests of equal "performance" is delusional.

Similarly, your beliefs that today peopel with dark skin and certain names and traits are treated equally to more Anglo-Saxon times, and that the latter have no advantages over the former, is delusional.

"Housing, hiring, college admissions, whatever. Discriminate based on race or ethnicity, and off you go."

Admittedly, that would solve the racial discrimination problem in a generation. However, while I'm quite happy, not everyone wants to be part of an interracial marriage.

yo Gary welcome back!

Brett, did you not read my post? I don't give a damn about whose ancestors did what to whose when. What I care about is what is going on now. I care that people now are being screwed by not getting a good education. By not being born to the right parents whether through wealth, colour, creed, or quirks of DNA. And I know I got pretty lucky. And consider it a shame that others haven't been as lucky. And something I'd like to change.

Affirmative action is a clunky way to try and fix this. But when dealing with populations in the million there are no elegant ways. Affirmative Action is better than nothing, and heaps better than anything the Republican Party has to offer. Sure it's slightly racist. But I'm prepared to support underdogs trying to reverse methods the self-perpetuating oligarchies use. I don't give a damn that it's slightly racist as long as it is better than the status quo - which it is. When there is a better method offered that is politically viable I'll jump ship. But all you have seemed to offer is the majestic equality of the law, about which quotes have been given.

"I suppose it was very frustrating to see Democrats punished for making the morally correct decision on race."

Well...yes, it was.

"At long last, though, the devil is taking his due."

I suppose that relishing that phrase the way I am is not very Quakerish of me, but...yes.

Discriminate against someone based on race or ethnicity and you go to federal prison for five years. Period. . . . In a generation or two, we won't be seeing a lot of race based discrimination.

After all, that plan worked so well on ending drug use . . . and murder.

After all, that plan worked so well on ending drug use

Hey, I'm just trying to meet my conservative brothers and sisters halfway.

But no need to worry, even if we were to put the proposal out there in a serious way, there would be no takers.

Supporting Publius' point about demographics, Carville was on NPR today stating that if the demographics were equal to 1992 McCain would have won. Demographics apparently decided the election if that is true.

russell: Sessions.

Hey, but maybe you're right. Maybe he's just a smart-ass with bad judgement.

I already read that, Russell. It doesn't prove a thing. The witness against Sessions was discredited at least in part (he accused another co-worker of racist statements that were denied by the co-worker; there is no indication that co-worker is racist; another co-worker that was said to have overheard Sessions stated Sessions never said the things he was being accused of). Again, I don't see anything since 1986 in any event.

The problem I have is calling somebody a racist on such a flimsy basis. The race card has been cast before Obama has even nominated a person. The ranking Dems don't seem to have a problem working with Sessions.

Carville was on NPR today stating that if the demographics were equal to 1992 McCain would have won. Demographics apparently decided the election if that is true.
This is an excellent conclusion, because of course the 1992 campaign was identical in all respects other than the demographics of the electorate ... oh, wait, what's that? In 1992 the Democrats ran a pair of Southern white guys against an out-of-touch Washington insider who'd been personally presiding over a recession? And there were other differences, including a major third-party bid? Well, never mind then.

I mean, jeez, it's almost like a certain 1992 campaign manager wants to minimize the Obama campaign's achievement compared to the sheer unadulterated awesomeness of said 1992 campaign manager.

The race card has been cast before Obama has even nominated a person. The ranking Dems don't seem to have a problem working with Sessions.
For heaven's sake, Sessions was rejected for the federal bench by a Republican-controlled Senate for being a racist. The fact that his Democratic colleagues and co-workers don't see any percentage in making a fuss about his ascendancy, when they have no control over it and have everything to gain by the leader of the Republicans' opposition to any nominee in the Judiciary committee arriving pre-discredited, is profoundly unsurprising.

"In 1992 the Democrats ran a pair of Southern white guys against an out-of-touch Washington insider who'd been personally presiding over a recession?"

Digressively, I find it fascinating that Richard Nixon was of the opinion, which he mentioned publically before he died (see Nixonland), that G. H. W. Bush would have won in 1992 if only he had done what he, Nixon, had done with the Vietnam War in 1972: deliberately prolong settlement of the war so that he could claim imminent peace, thanks to his extraordinary and unique efforts and skills, just before the election (in Nixon's case, then going on to shoot for a "decent interval" before the inevitable failure of the propped up Thieu regime), which Nixon thought Bush could and should have done with the first Iraq war. Nixon was of the belief that Bush had settled his war too quickly, failing to take proper political advantage of it.

But, then, Nixon never thought G. H. W. Bush was his sort of tough guy; he loved John Connally instead.

My guess is that Nixon would have liked G. W. Bush, and the contemporary Dick Cheney far more, at least in terms of their willingness to be ruthless and amoral, although surely not for Bush's savvy of international politics/diplomacy.

I also guess, given Nixon's view that Fred Dalton Thompson was "dumb as hell" that Nixon would have thought the same of most of the current crop of Republicans.

You can say plenty of bad things about Richard Nixon -- and I have -- but he wasn't stupid.

Oh, and incidentally, I'm amused I blogged about the theme of Nixon being smarter than G. W. Bush regarding his own Iraq War long before I read Rick Perlstein's account of Nixon's views regarding Bush 41 and his Iraq war.

Warren: I specifically said that the legalese was over my head and that as a layperson I found his arguments convincing (with no dissenting POV). I’m not sure I entirely buy yours, but at least you (and Gary) offered a response.

As for McCarthy – many here should admire him. He is after all the prosecutor responsible for actually convicting a terrorist in our court system – which is exactly how many here believe it should be done.

Oops – that totally came out on the wrong thread. Sorry.

Matt Yglesias on Brett Bellmore:

"Glenn Beck, by contrast, like most conservatives, think that the preeminent racial problem in the United States is that white people are too put upon by political correctness. Conservatives are very very very concerned about this alleged problem of anti-racism run amok. And they’re very concerned about the alleged problem of reverse discrimination. But they don’t seem concerned at all about racism or discrimination and certainly not nearly as concerned as they about helping out the poor, put-upon white man."

To be fair, I do see a lot of bend-over-backwards behaviour in academic transitions programs which simply shouldn't be tolerated[1]. But I think that's less a matter of institutionalized exceptionalism and more likely due to personal quirks.

[1]I've heard some people claim that 'black culture demeans academics' is a 'liberal' excuse; again, from what I've seen, it's more often an excuse thrown out by poorly performing students. Certainly the 'liberal' teachers aren't buying it.

I already read that, Russell. It doesn't prove a thing.

Could be it's all just a misunderstanding. Character assassination, even.

We'll all look forward to his performance in the Judiciary committee.

"But they don’t seem concerned at all about racism or discrimination and certainly not nearly as concerned as they about helping out the poor, put-upon white man.""

Just another way of saying, "Racial discrimination is fine, so long as I get to dictate who the victims are."

"Just another way of saying, 'Racial discrimination is fine, so long as I get to dictate who the victims are.'"

Just another way of saying "racial discrimination actually exists, and we can't ignore who the actual victims are," actually.

Hint: you're not a victim, no matter how much self-pity you have.

No, Gary, I'm not a victim, and I'm not particularly filled with self-pity, either. But apparently neither am I allowed to notice that the prefered liberal approach to remedying the effects of historical discrimination, is to simply commit racial discrimination again, with a different victim class.

My point here is, when you can't remedy an injustice without committing the same injustice against somebody else, it's time to declare that injustice a sunk cost of history, and move on. History is full of injustices which will never be remedied, because the perpetrators are dead.

Unless you want an endless cycle of tit for tat, that's how it's got to be.

One point - we don't have to go back 400 years to find instances of institutional discrimination against African Americans, based on race. Whites were benefiting up until the LBJ administration from Jim Crow laws and whites only publicly funded colleges and universities.

Millions of people who attended college in the 1950s and 1960s are still alive, and benefitted from easy admissions because a large chunk of the population was barred completely from entering those universities. Given that relatively RECENT history, and the fact that a large chunk of the people who benefitted are still alive, I don't see anything particularly eggregious about helping a generation of African Americans get into college by accepting them even though their test scores aren't as high as someon else's.

At least we whites still have a shot at getting into college - people might have to settle for their second or third school but anyone with a decent GPA coming out of high school will get in somewhere that is accredited and offers a decent shot at a quality college education. The right to get into your first choice school is not a civil right. As long as you can get into a decent school I fail to see what harm is done.

As far as preferential treatment goes, what about the Ivy league legacies? GWB took a spot at Yale away from someone more academically qualified - where are all the conservatives crying discrimination over that?

"when you can't remedy an injustice without committing the same injustice against somebody else,"

I'd like a specific cite to how often that is done, before you expect me to believe it's a problem, if you'd be so kind.

"... by accepting them even though their test scores aren't as high as someon else's...."

To repeat for the zillionth time, no university chooses student admittance purely on test scores, or GPA. That's just a lie.

I respect commenters like Brett, because they let it all hang out, ignorance and all. Wouldn't ever drink that kool-aid with him though.

Brett and his ilk are simple folk, infantile really, and they really like that game where they cover their eyes and the whole world disappears, and then amazingly the world reappears again when they uncover their eyes.

That's about the level of sophistication they put into their "thinking" about the legacy of slavery and legal discrimination.

Think about it. If they didn't dogmatically maintain a "see no evil" philosophy, they would be WRONG. God forbid!

Their motto: Simpletons unite! Now everybody cover their eyes!

News Nag, while I disagree with Brett on many things, I would never say that he is infantile. In fact doing so, IMHO, borders on a violation of the posting rules.

"My point here is, when you can't remedy an injustice without committing the same injustice against somebody else, it's time to declare that injustice a sunk cost of history, and move on."

The forms of discrimination we're talking about, and the harms they cause, are not only not the same, they're not really commensurate.

Hope that's clear, because otherwise there's not much basis for conversation about it.

"History is full of injustices which will never be remedied, because the perpetrators are dead. "

Neither all of the perpetrators, nor all of the victims, are dead.

There are lots of things to be said about affirmative action pro and con, but it is not payback for slavery of 150 years ago. It's a remedy for very real present-day ills.

"Unless you want an endless cycle of tit for tat"

As noted above, "tit" and "tat" in this case are apples and oranges.

Ever heard of Robert Bird? He had a fettish for white robes and pointy hats as well. While the Republican's were teaching personal responsibility and limited government the liberals were frolicking in free love- the road to mass infanticide was born. Southern cotton farmers owned slaves like women own their fetuses. Except the latter are now referred to as, "human".

Warren, it took remarkably long but we have an (although misspelled) Byrd.

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